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Ravens Top 10: #10 - Michael McCrary

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The Ravens are kicking off their 20th NFL season this year. To commemorate that achievement, we'll take a look at the Ravens' top 10 players of the last 20 years.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Ravens are kicking off their 20th NFL season this year. To commemorate that achievement, we'll take a look at the Ravens' top 10 players of the last 20 years.

#10 - Michael McCrary

One of the truest Ravens that Baltimore has ever had. A non-stop motor with tons of aggression, McCrary came to Baltimore after whirlwind 1996 year with Seattle that saw him collect 13.5 sacks on his first season starting. Originally drafted in the 7th round by Seattle, McCrary decided that coming to Baltimore was his best and brightest option despite fielding offers from several other teams, as the Ravens were cultivating players for the best defense modern football has ever seen.

One of the original models for "playing like a Raven", McCrary was famous for not stopping, including crawling on the ground to get after the quarterback. Hard hitting and a team player first and foremost, McCrary is one of the more forgotten players of that vaunted defense, but was absolutely one of the keystones of it's formation and ultimately the development of several players that came after him. His Super Bowl winning head coach, Brian Billick reflected back on McCrary's career:

Reading Michael’s book reminded me of the absolutely fearless, pure warrior that I was lucky enough to have on our team and, fortunately, only had to coach against once. No player in Ravens history surpassed the effort Mike gave on every single play. He was as tough as any Raven. Mike served as an example to his teammates in terms of preparation, including in-season and off-season conditioning and strengthening. Mike McCrary was a player that, as a coach, you knew you didn’t have to concern yourself with. By that I mean Mike was going to give you his best, and was going to make a play that impacted the game, every time he set foot on the field.

Ending his career in Baltimore in 2003, McCrary is currently one of four players with more than 70 career sacks (Peter Boulware, Rob Burnett and Terrell Suggs are the only others). In August of 2003, McCrary along with his family, front office and about twenty players that requested special permission to attend, he announced his retirement from football. His retirement stems mainly from injuries to his knees that caused him too much pain and dampened his ability to get after the quarterback like he wanted.

Sportscaster Keith Mills had this to say:

I have never seen anything like this. I have covered a hundred of these, including Cal Ripken’s, and I have never seen so much love and emotion for a retiring player.

Even though Michael McCrary had a ton of on-field achievements, he is well known for his off-field accomplishments towards Maryland and the city of Baltimore. The winner of the Byron "Whizzer" White Award for his hard work in the community. The Ravens awarded him with a place in the Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium, alongside other Ravens and Colts greats.

Michael can still be found around the city of Baltimore from time to time as he calls it home. One of the most humble and nicest players Baltimore has ever had, McCrary will always be Raven for life.